Mercury & Change
by Maya del Mar

Somehow we’ve managed with uncertain election results. What we can’t manage is global warming—or at least the U.S., dominated by Big Oil and Big Auto, refuses to take the problem seriously—unlike scientists from all disciplines, and every other country in the world.

Our stewing about the election seems to me like Nero’s fiddling while Rome burns. Pres. Clinton, or Vice President Gore—our great environmentalist—need to get over to the UN Conference on Global Warming now in the Hague, and make some strong commitments.

The U.S. does have the technology to make enormous reductions in our greenhouse gases, and instead of holding back we should be leading the way in supporting those technologies, and helping other nations, as well, to develop clean technologies.

Many nations are talking about joining together without the U.S. in a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gases, and hoping that this will provide moral leadership for the U.S., the world’s greatest polluter.

This last Full Moon was all about resources. Saturn now in Taurus is all about resources. It’s time (maybe past time) to move our nation into protecting this Earth of which we are part and which sustains us. She may quit doing it.

At this moment our government is, in fact, trying to talk the resistant Arab nations into producing more oil. And there is a big push in Washington to open up the pristine Naval Reserve on Alaska’s coast to oil drilling. Our Scorpio New Moon was Neptunian, and oil is one of Neptune’s domains. So is the cycle of life.

Nevertheless I’m fiddling too. Here goes:


Last New Year’s Eve we were thrust into the new millennium with a very special conjunction in the heavens. Heavy hitting Pluto joined maverick Chiron in Sagittarius to toss us into a cauldron of transformation in all Sagittarian matters—which ultimately expand our minds and spirits. Politics is one of the matters under the aegis of Sagittarius.

The United States is the special focus of this transformative, healing energy, for this conjunction occurred on the Ascendant—that most personal point—of the U.S. birth chart.

This dynamic pair backed off for much of the year, but in late August both Pluto and Chiron turned direct in the heavens and began to steam ahead quickly towards the U.S. Sagittarian Ascendant. This is a sensitive position, where they have a major influence on the nation.

At the same time Jupiter, moving very slowly in Gemini, was locked into an extraordinarily long opposition with these two hard hitting guys. On its end of the opposition, Jupiter, the politician, has been transiting near the U.S. Descendant, another sensitive area. This is the part of the chart where we face other people, and the public, and Gemini is the sign of the Twins. We are seeing the Gemini Twins in action.

This powerful and unique opposition in the heavens seesawed across the relationship axis of the U.S. chart through September and October, during campaign time. We saw the Jupiter Twins, and we also got a feel for the establishment power—Pluto—from which they spring.

Chiron was in a strong place, next to Pluto. Chiron is a maverick who catalyzes change in situations to produce a realignment which draws on hidden strengths. This is how Chiron heals. Ralph Nader and the Greens personified Chiron.

Oppositions seek balance, a very elusive quality. Besides that, Jupiter has been hanging around the balance area of the U.S.chart, where it is reluctant to upset the apple cart. In addition, Sagittarius and Gemini are both mutable signs, ready to go where the wind takes them. This is an inherently unstable configuration—by type, sign polarity, and chart location.

This wobbly, unsteady opposition was the election milieu—with the Joker, Chiron, part of the pot.

To top it off, the election itself occurred under a super strong Mercury in Libra, the sign whose task is balance. Libra sees all sides.

Strong leadership is lacking in this picture. Decision-making is gutted. The teeter-totter of balancing is the dynamic with which we are stuck, regardless which of the Twins is in charge.

This is a perfect setup for cooperation, as well as for competition. In an individual chart, oppositions are best resolved through cooperation with others, but often we get stuck in a competitive mode, not owning our whole selves.

This campaign, and the election, set the tone for the next Administration. We can see that Administration wavering here, listening to advisers there, checking the polls after every move, reaching for authoritative guidance.

This very inability to take decisive action will create space for others to act. On the one hand grassroots movements for people empowerment could thrive; on the other hand the powers behind the scene could have free opportunity to pull the strings. The country could become more divided as both of these forces become stronger.

Due to the nature of the U.S. chart, the nation will remain in the throes of the Sagittarius-Gemini opposition for the next few years.


Pluto’s abode in mythology was underground. Pluto is familiar with all the worms and bacteria and unseen creatures which transform garbage and decay into food for life. The compost heap is Plutonian. It may not appear beautiful, but it’s very healthy and fertile. Seeds love it.

Pluto is quite familiar with cans of worms. And now that it is transiting over the U.S. Ascendant, it is opening some of those cans for public view, although the major media have held their noses and tried to avoid them.

Benefit Number One

The big dirty secret about American elections is not that ballots may be hard to read and hard to count accurately—although this may be true. The big expose is the enormous amount of racial prejudice shown towards people of color, even in the voting booth.

People who are familiar with elections are telling us that this happens commonly in polls all over the South.

Many of us were unaware of the extent of this injustice. After all, African-Americans were granted the right to vote after the Civil War in 1867. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 enlarged those rights, and they were again enhanced in 1975.

Information about the many forms of harassment which people of color encountered as they tried to vote, subtle and otherwise, is coming out now because African-American voters in Florida were primed to vote as they never have been. They were eager. They had specific gripes against the Republican Administration of Florida, and they were behind Al Gore.

For many of them it was their first time to vote. And they are angry now at having their votes discounted (or uncounted) and being intimidated or turned away at the polls even though they had registered. Many of them are afraid to speak up for fear of police harassment, but much testimony is coming from white witnesses.

The NAACP is bringing a suit against the Justice Dept. to ask it to uphold the federal Voting Rights Act.

This is another step in the long struggle of African-Americans for equal treatment under the law. The history of slavery in the U.S. has a legacy of unhealed wounds.

The public scrutiny of voting in Florida also provides an opening for other minorities, such as disabled people, to protest being shut out of the voting process.

Benefit Number Two

For many many years most Americans have not really thought about the whole election process, even those who vote. However, the excitement of the close contests all over the nation, and particularly the Presidential election, have motivated us to take a look at what an election really is, how the votes are made and counted, what they mean, how the results are known, and many other issues surrounding the electoral process which never occurred to most of us.

We have all learned an enormous amount about this basic mechanism for democracy, including how much we don’t know. Many worthwhile issues have arisen. We all know now that we need to take a thorough look at the system and its safeguards. And do some fixing.

Benefit Number Three

We get to see first-hand how narrow and self-interested American presidential politics has become, as Al Gore and George Bush let us in on a dress rehearsal for their future roles There is precious little statesmanship shown here, or real concern for the public’s welfare, although Al Gore did make an attempt at it. The marketing system still holds sway, with both Bush and Gore raising millions for this current fight in Florida and putting spin on every public photo or utterance they make.

This campaign, and its aftermath, have been debilitating for both Democrat and Republican parties.

This is only a benefit because we need to see it to change it—so that we are motivated to bring back a political dialog which speaks to the "general welfare."

Benefit Number Four

How much do our votes count? On the one hand, we see that it may count a lot if one vote determines who is elected. On the other hand, it seems to count for little unless it is a vote for the winning candidate. And the situation in Florida has made many people ask: Will my vote be counted at all?

We are finally looking at ways to make each vote more meaningful—ways that are used by most other democracies in the world.

Instant runoff is common. This is voting for candidates by ranking your choices. If there is not a clear majority, second place votes count. Etc. The winner is decided by a true vote of the people, and no one "spoils" the election.

This system provides incentive to major parties to woo minor parties, and to promise them some power. The voter might vote for their minority party first, but then give your party candidate second ranking which might be important in a runoff. Al Gore, for instance, might have done this with the Greens. He would have walked away with the election if he had, even without instant runoff.

The United States had a form of IRO in its early days. Each Elector voted for two candidates. The highest count was elected president, and the second place winner became vice-president.

Abolishing the Electoral College would also favor popular elections—the voice of the people. The Electoral College was originally designed as a body to give more power to the small states and to the South. There was also the unspoken idea that it could overrule the people’s vote if necessary.

The Electors can vote independently, and in the nation’s early days often did. Florida’s Electors, for instance, are not bound by law to give all—or any—of their votes to the candidate who gets the majority of the Florida popular vote. Nor, in fact, are any of the other states’ Electors.

In the heavens Chiron in Sagittarius (his favorite sign) is strong all month. Chiron tends to overturn the usual, and anything could happen—especially under the electoral system.

Both of these reforms, instant runoff and abolishing the Electoral College would go well together.

Proportional representation is another way to increase the meaning of every vote. It is used by every country with which I have any familiarity, and is often used by municipal governments. Each party’s proportion of total votes is tallied, and the party gets that same proportion of total representatives in the government. If the minority is too small to have a percentage of the legislature, they are often given one representative. Minority parties thus can still have their voices heard, and the incentive is high for all parties to form coalitions.

These three changes would raise the significance of every vote. And very likely increase voter turnout. They would expand democracy by promoting wider representation in government.

The ruling parties of both Germany and France, for instance, won their elections by creating coalitions with the Greens in their countries, and sharing governance with them. They both have more representative democracies than do we.

Pluto in Sagittarius now asks this nation to expand. We can make choices about how we do it.

Benefit Number Five



This is not the first time in U.S. history that the presidential election has been close, or manipulated. For instance, in the very close 1960 election, it was common knowledge that Pres. Kennedy won due to vote rigging by Mayor Daley, Democratic boss of Chicago.

That year, like this, there were also questions about the close counts and tallies in other states.

At the election of 1960, the Moon’s Nodes—destiny—were in conflict with the U.S. Ascendant—but conciliator Venus conjoined that Ascendant.

In 1876, again in Florida, there was a heated dispute over the counts for Democratic Samuel J. Tilden and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. Election observers were dispatched to Tallahassee, and to prevent possible violence 12 companies of Federal troops occupied the city.

Florida gave the vote to Hayes, but angry Democratic electors protested, and two separate vote counts were forwarded to Washington.

Finally, just two days before the Inauguration (which was in March in those days), a commission of senators, representatives and Supreme Court justices, decided for Hayes by an 8-7 vote.

The deal which Hayes made for this was a promise to pull back all Federal help for reconstruction in the South, which he did. The ground and the necessity for the Civil Rights movement was laid then.

At this 1876 election, Jupiter in Sagittarius conjoined the U.S. Ascendant. Now at the 2000 election we have Pluto the Regenerator on the U.S. Ascendant—for the first time in history. This is our opportunity to reform the specific injustice to African-Americans created and perpetuated as a result of the election of 1876.


Florida achieved statehood on March 3, 1845. On that day Sun in Pisces was exactly square both the Ascendant and the Descendant of the United States birthday chart. This essentially puts Florida in conflict with the nation, and can motivate creative effort in resolving problems between them.

Resolution takes extra effort, however, because Florida’s Mars in Sagittarius opposes the U.S. Mars in Gemini. Think of two boxers facing off in the ring. Or think of U.S. Marshals facing the Miami relatives to rescue Elian Gonzales.

Pluto, then, as it is transiting the U.S. Ascendant, is challenging and regenerating the very identity of Florida, as well as that of the United States. This major transit for both the U.S. and Florida began in December 1999, when Elian was picked up off the coast of Florida.

As Pluto moved slowly ahead, the hysteria of the anti-Castro community was exposed. Pluto then backed up, and exactly when it again hit the U.S. Ascendant, the Feds rescued Elian and reunited him with his father.

The day Pluto turned retrograde, March 15, a Florida judge ruled the voucher system unconstitutional in Florida.

Pluto picks out the dirty laundry and throws it in the wash machine. Some of the issues coming up now for reform are money in politics, excesses of big business—and the close links between the two, unfair voting, racism, the death penalty and the prison system—also linked to racism, decades-old plotting against the Cuban government, and world climate changes, probably in great part driven by U.S. lifestyle. There are many others.

The current big push of this transformative Pluto transit will be completed at the end of 2001 for Florida, just as it will be for the United States. Its regenerative action will continue, however, for the next 20 years. I think of the enclaves in Florida, with private homes for many of the families who run the world. Will their connections be exposed?

This election is part of initiating the saga of exposing rot in the American system. We have begun a major process of eliminating the negative and supporting the positive in preparation for the nation’s entry into its democratic birthright, shown by the coming planetary configurations.

This is a very exciting time in the history of the United States. The chaos, and ferment of change allow us as citizens to have a larger voice in shaping policy and events.

Published by Maya del Mar. Copyright © 2000, 2001 Maya del Mar.
Web site design by Susan Pomeroy.